Sunday, January 27, 2013

Recreating Art -- Writer's Poke #403





Leonid Afremov is an artist that has only just entered my radar. He has a style – use of vibrant colors and so forth – that immediately connected to me. After taking some time to look at his body of work, I quickly noticed that most of his paintings have a similar look, similar themes. That’s not a bad thing, in and of itself, but it made me wonder: Is he capable of doing anything more than what he does? Or, is he simply content to do what he does?

Thomas Kincade is another artist known for a distinctive style. I don’t particularly like Kincade’s style, but a lot of people do. When you see a Kincade picture, you know what to expect. Afremov’s work, which I do like, is sort of like Kincade’s in that regard. Some artists just seem to play it safe. They’re not interested in challenging themselves or doing anything different. 

Of course if it’s not broke, why fix it, right? But if you don’t ever try to improve on what you can do, one thing is certain: you will never improve on what you can do.

Art has a business side to it as well. Artists need to eat, and not everyone can afford to buy an original piece of art. Some of Afremov’s originals run as high as $25,000. Interestingly enough, though, Afremov is willing to paint “original recreations,” and you can buy one for as little as $99. This is a real painting made by the original artist. It’s just a “recreation” of a painting that Afremov has already painted.

I’m sure he’s not the only artist that does this. In fact, I know he’s not. My wife and I have a “recreation” from another artist. It has sat over our fireplace for the past five years, and we like it just fine. In the back of my head, though, I still find myself thinking: “Someone else has the original, and I just have the recreation.” On the other hand, this recreation sits right next to an “original” by the same artist, and it’s really hard to tell the difference – at least from a distance. I have to admit that the “recreation” looks a little bit like it was done in haste, however, and not given the same amount of care. That said, I still like know that the original artist completed the painting just for us. And it’s nice having a real painting rather than a print. 

What do you think about artists recreating their own original paintings? Is it no different than a musician singer their original album songs in concert?

“The great thing about being a writer is that you are always recreating yourself.” – Martin C. Smith

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